The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times

Product Details
$20.00  $18.60
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.39 X 8.27 X 0.66 inches | 0.82 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Barbara Taylor is professor of humanities at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of Eve and the New Jerusalem, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination, and, with Adam Phillips, On Kindness.
"We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder, and more effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Taylor's somber investigation, calling on personal experience, challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered, and timely book."--Hilary Mantel
"Eloquent, compassionate, and utterly absorbing. The Last Asylum is the best sort of memoir, transcending the purely personal to confront a larger social history."--Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests
"Taylor provides a gripping (often painful) account of her own experience of madness, a fascinating description of her psychoanalysis, a historical reflection on the role asylums played for inmates and the implications of their demise, and a meditation of the interrelationships between care and cure."--Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests "Los Angeles Review of Books" (11/5/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"[A] brave and brilliant memoir. . . . an inside account of being out of one's mind."--Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests "Bookforum" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"[An] unsparing portrait of a descent into madness."--Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests "Times Literary Supplement" (3/27/2015 12:00:00 AM)
Taylor's history of asylums and mental health care and chronicle of her own treatment, which included several stays in England's Friern mental hospital, reveals that mentally ill people have been subject to one medical fad after another, and too many of these trends best suited doctors, nurses, and therapists rather than their patients. . . . Taylor's precise writing offers an informative overview of medical and social aspects of mental health care over the past few hundred years. . . . Those with mental health problems and their families will learn much here. Students of medicine and of the histories of psychology will also benefit from Taylor's analysis of their fields."--Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests "Library Journal" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"A remarkable memoir-hybrid that opens up history from the inside. . . . A visceral and supremely intelligent account of [Taylor's] breakdown and psychoanalytic treatment in the last years of the asylum system."--Alison Light, author of Common People "Guardian" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Dazzling. . . . A tale that compels you to keep turning the pages. . . . A great achievement, full of life and hope."--Alison Light, author of Common People "Sunday Telegraph" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Exquisitely written and provocative."--Alison Light, author of Common People "Sunday Times (UK)" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"This superb book combines the experience of the patient and the eye of the historian. Riveting, insightful, and relentlessly honest, it is both social history and memoir, and it makes an important contribution to contemporary debates on the treatment of mental distress."--Darian Leader, founding member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (CFAR) "Sunday Times (UK)" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Moving, brave and intelligent."--Darian Leader, founding member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (CFAR) "Times (UK)" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"A gripping account . . . as exciting as any adventure story."--Naomi Alderman "Guardian" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"It is hard to write well enough about this book because it is so good."--Susie Orbach "Independent" (4/6/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Not to be missed. The Last Asylum is an extraordinarily measured, fascinating, and honest account that stands out from all but a handful within the genre. . . . [It is] also a valuable piece of social history, documenting the demise of asylum mental health care during the years of deinstitutionalization; . . . It reveals the cruel underside of deinstitutionalization policies that have resulted in populations of the mentally ill homeless in city streets and locked up in county jails and prisons. . . . Taylor is to be applauded for an important and original contribution to our understanding of such disorder and its care."--Susie Orbach "Metapsychology" (10/7/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Taylor takes readers on a fascinating if harrowing journey through her four years as an inpatient and outpatient in the British mental health-care system and her two decades in psychoanalysis. Her book offers an unflinching view of those whose illnesses beg a safe haven and whom the system often fails."--Suzanne Allard Levingston "Washington Post" (10/7/2015 12:00:00 AM)